Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
If you read my blog, you’ve no doubt heard me allude to some of my many insecurities and neuroses as a writer (and sometime, just to change things up, I’m going to write about the flipside—the bizarre ego and arrogance I also have . . . but that’s another day). I almost always go on to say that the solution is to write anyway. Write through the fear. Write through the conviction that whatever I’m writing is crap. Write through the confidence that this piece is the one that will finally pull the curtain from in front of everyone’s eyes and reveal me for the impostor I am. Etc., etc., etc! (And I believe that: writing through, despite—even because of—whatever terror or sadness or confusion I’m feeling is crucial.)
I’m sure I’ve also shared that when I’m writing, in the act itself, I’m freed from my obsessive inner whining, criticizing, and self-abuse. I love stories. I love words. I love the adventure and freedom and challenge in trying to express the worlds within me—and I’m endlessly fascinated by the worlds and wild places that exist in others. On the outside we often share such similar lives—and our inner lives have similarities too—but how those similarities manifest in our dreams, visions, and imaginations are so crazily divergent.
I trust that writing place, when I’m deep into a plot, running through an essay, or mucking about in the dark recesses of my past, one hand out so I don’t smash my face on a low hanging limb, searching for the word or phrase to get that image out on the page.
I don’t always know why I write (though I try to articulate it once in awhile)—or what I should write. (Is there a form of writing that’s higher than another? Are some literary or artistic pursuits more worthy than others? Is seeking to entertain enough? Can one ever aspire to more than that without being a pretentious idiot?) But I trust that I should be writing. And I trust that inner place.
It’s the latter part of the quote I’m working on: And then try trusting it for a while. As in, maybe letting myself get all crazy with self-doubt and angst and really mean self criticism when I’m not physically writing is something I can work to let go of . . . and, actually, as I write this, I realize something that makes me freakishly happy: to a large degree, I have let go of it.
Yes, I’m still familiar with the winding tunnels of insecurity—but I have map to get through them. I know the language of creativity curses—and have counter spells. I used to want to write, need to write—yet didn’t write. I didn’t trust the place—and wasn’t sure it existed, or that I could find it if it did exist.
It is still hard to get to the page . . . fighting inner dragons, toughening up your maiden self, nurturing your mother side, honing your inner crone . . . it’s hard work (exhilarating, joyful, fun—but also intimidating, trying, scary . . .) But something has changed. I used to worry . . . What if there’s nothing there when I try to write? Now I know there’s stuff there, will always be stuff there . . . It’s more like I have to use a scythe to cut all the distracting ideas away so I can get to the ones I really want to explore.
I trust the place. I’ve been trusting it for a while. And that’s . . . well, pretty cool.
4 thoughts on “Find a place you trust”
That is pretty cool!
“I used to want to write, need to write—yet didn’t write. I didn’t trust the place—and wasn’t sure it existed, or that I could find it if it did exist.”
It’s far too easy to get stuck in that awful place – and worse, to think there’s nothing beyond.
Thank you for your inspirational post!
My husband and I saw “Safety Not Guaranteed” tonight (great film!), and he asked what I would do differently if I could go back 20 years in time… I said I would write. What that meant to me, was “write without fear, without worrying about whether it was okay to write, just letting myself write.” I’m only getting to that place now, of trusting where I am, and that means trusting who I am. I feel that process you describe, of getting better at this, getting a map of the tunnels. And I think part of the courage I now feel comes from having writer-friends, of trusting them, of doing this thing together as a team sport, all of us tunnel-travelling alone yet connected, because we are all out there making a map to fight the dark…
You’re so welcome, Ang. I’m flattered/happy you found my rantings inspirational. 😉
Re: your comment, “What that meant to me, was ‘write without fear, without worrying about whether it was okay to write, just letting myself write.’”. . . Yes, I totally relate to that. Wonder if most writers do!
And I love how you related to/continued my writing as a quest motif: “all of us tunnel-travelling alone yet connected, because we are all out there making a map to fight the dark…” 🙂 🙂
I’m going to try to watch “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Thanks for the tip. I love films that spark thought!